On Playing Nice



I’m not a nice person. I came to this realization many years ago when I was making observations on certain fellow human beings and my husband was smiling, nodding, humoring me, and then explaining why those poor people were the way they were. I came to the realization as I attended funeral after funeral, heard the words, “She never had an unkind word to say about anyone,” spoken about the deceased and realized those words would NEVER be said about me. I came to the realization when I realized that I am snide, sarcastic, and rude thoughts are rarely far from my mind.

I am not a nice person. And I am a minister. Upon consideration of a recent lectionary scripture I was reminded that I am to love God and love my neighbor. But sometimes I just want to punch my neighbors in their smug, annoying noses. Or tell them where to go. Or, at the very least, tell them a thing or two.

I weary of playing nice. I tire of smiling and wearing the aura of calm, cool, collected even when faced with the ugliness of this world. Yes, sometimes kicking someone in the shins would be so delightful. The two year old within me is crying out for sweet release.

This morning, as I taught the preschool class at church, I looked upon the adorable faces of real two year olds. I told them that some of Jesus’s friends were worried about who was most important and whom he loved the best. I looked at the children and asked, “Which friend do you think Jesus loved the most?” Holding little wooden figurines I asked, “Do you think Jesus loved this friend the most? Or this friend? Or this friend?”

One darling, little girl looked at me and, with all the earnestness and love in her heart, said, “He loved Liam the most,” directing her attention to the little boy seated next to her.”

I asked, “Does Jesus love you, too?”

“No. Liam.”

We’ll be working on her theological beliefs but, in the meantime, I’m rejoicing over her generosity of spirit, her kindness, the love that two year old has for her friend, her classmate, her neighbor.

May we all be as willing to share God’s love.

Even grumpy, old me.

Ever endeavoring to be a better child of God,



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